CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

New bid to help isolated pensioners after elderly woman lies dead at home for six weeks

Cabinet members to discuss new 'community connections'

12 October, 2017 — By Tom Foot

A DRIVE to forge relationships between isolated elderly people and their neighbours is to be discussed at the Town Hall next week.

The need for action was highlighted when the New Journal reported last week on the case of 85-year-old Patricia Simoni, whose body was found at her home in Agincourt Road, Gospel Oak, around six weeks after her death. Cabinet councillors are now due to discuss how to tackle social isolation among the elderly by creating “community connections” and a new system where volunteer groups, charities and kind-hearted residents take on shared responsibility for the wellbeing of older residents.

Several people contacted the newspaper this week to air their frustrations about Ms Simoni’s death and similar cases. A woman who phoned last night (Wednesday) simply asked: “How many more will be left like this on Camden estates?”

Janet Guthrie, chairwoman of Age UK Camden, said: “This devastating story should be a wake-up call, where we ask ourselves what we can do to tackle loneliness on our doorsteps?” Age UK Camden supports 9,000 older people each year. The council – which has been crippled by huge care funding cuts – says it will aim to use technology “as a way of connecting people who may otherwise be at risk of social isolation”.

Director of adult social care Sarah McClinton told Camden’s health scrutiny committee that the current set-up of council support services was “not sustainable” following devastating government cuts. See Letters, page 15

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